Thursday, February 28, 2019


Jesus said, "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:19-20 NIV)

We are to go -- whether it is next door or to another country -- and make disciples. It is not an option but a command to all who call Jesus "Lord". We are not all evangelists in the formal sense, but we have all received gifts that we can use to help fulfill the great commission. 

-- from the “Life Application Bible”


Wednesday, February 27, 2019


“The Lord your God is indeed God in heaven above and on earth below.”  (Joshua 2:11)

The Bible seems never to gloss over the failings of its characters, nor to explain them. It gives us the unadorned facts, and it leaves the rest to us. And I marvel still more that God so often takes the rather messy stuff of our lives and manages to bring good of it. This doesn’t excuse our messiness (read that ‘sin’), but it does remind us that God is not undone by our weakness, our stupidity, or our wickedness. Rather, God has a remarkable penchant for mixing grace with our basest ingredients until the will of heaven comes to pass. 

-- J. Ellsworth Kalas in “Life from the Up Side: Seeing God at Work in the World”


Tuesday, February 26, 2019


“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,… For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our LORD.”  (Romans  3:23, 6:23 NIV)

An interesting word, sin. A century ago, our vocabulary was rich in synonyms for sin. Words like iniquity. Transgression. Turpitude. Depravity. Reprobation. And my personal favorite: peccancy. New Testament Greek had thirty-three different words for sin. Apparently we once knew our way around the concept.

You can learn a lot about a society by digging through their heap of discarded words. These days you don’t hear people worrying about their turpitude at the water cooler or sharing about their depravity during prayer request time…

We can wipe sin out of our dictionaries. If only we could wipe it out of our souls. As a culture, we can try to rub out the definition of sin, but the condition isn’t going anywhere. It cracks the whip on just as many slaves -- the entire population of the world -- as it ever did. If we fail to acknowledge its reality, there can be no mourning. And without mourning there can be no confession. And without confession we miss the richest blessing of God’s forgiveness and grace. 

-- Kyle Idleman in “The End of Me”


Monday, February 25, 2019


"And He died for all, so that those who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf."  (2 Corinthians 5:15)

When I was in seminary, Dr. Lawson Stone preached a message in chapel that contained a simple phrase that has never left my heart and mind. In fact, it has become the defining phrase of my understanding about what life and ministry is all about: "It's not about you…it's all about HIM."

Oh, it sounds familiar to us all. We sing it in songs, old and new: "All for Jesus, all for Jesus, every day and every hour"…."Take my life and let it be, consecrated, Lord to Thee"…."It's all about You, Jesus, and all this is for You"… "Lord, I give You my heart, I give You my soul, I live for You alone."

But, as A.W. Tozer wrote, "Christians never tell lies…but quite often they go to church and sing them." The evidence of life so often reveals that our lives have actually become sanctified versions of the old life. [It's as if] the prodigal son comes home, gets cleaned up, and comes back to the father's house. But then he continues to make weekend trips to the faraway land, the land that symbolizes the journey away from God to the land of ME and what I want...

How easily we are deceived into living cleaned-up, religious versions of the self-centered lives that Jesus died to save us from in the first place!! Seek the Lord and ask Him to reveal this to you: Who is it really about? Is it you…or HIM?  

-- Dave Carroll, Missionary to Uganda


Friday, February 22, 2019


“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God -- this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is -- His good, pleasing and perfect will.”  (Romans 12:1-2 NIV)

I began to play the piano at the age of six. At one time I could actually play "The Flight of the Bumblebee". These days I couldn't get the poor little guy off the ground.

At any rate, it took me no time at all to learn that if the piano was out of tune, no matter how hard I tried, whatever I played sounded awful. Therefore, whenever I would play at a concert there was one thing I had to do when I walked out on the stage. I had to trust that whoever was in charge of keeping the piano tuned had done their job.

So it is with life. If you put God on the sidelines, your life will be badly out of tune. And no matter how hard you try, the dissonance will be obvious to you and everyone else. Try to solve your problems by being the “Captain of your fate and the master of your soul” and you will win an Oscar for trying to properly interpret a fool. Try to solve your problems by [tuning to the world around you] and you will soon find yourself out of tune and out of sync with [God].

So, what to do? Do what makes imminently good sense: hear, believe and act upon the words of Jesus, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” And when you wake up and walk into a new day with God, you don't have to be afraid, because come what may, He has prepared the way. 

-- Rev. V. Neil Wyrick in a sermon titled "Out of Tune, Out of Sync -- What to Do?" 


Thursday, February 21, 2019


“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.”  (Philippians 2:13 NLT)

The first thing to do as you seek God’s will is to deny yourself. Examine your heart for any selfish or worldly motives -- come to the point where you are certain your only desire is to know and to do God’s will…

God will never lead you to do something that contradicts His written Word. If what you sense in prayer runs contrary to Scripture, it is wrong. For instance, God will never lead you to commit adultery, to steal, or do anything that goes against His biblical precepts. Watch for God to use the written Word to confirm what you are sensing in prayer. Don’t play games with God. Don’t look for a Scripture that seems to say what you selfishly want to do and then claim it is God’s will. That is dangerous. Don’t do it. 

-- Henry Blackaby, Richard Blackaby and Claude King in “Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God”


Wednesday, February 20, 2019


“Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, and He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way].”  (Proverbs 3:5-6 AMP)

Scripture’s testimony is that God cares about you and me and wants to guide our lives through the difficult path ahead. In every detail God’s plan, with all the wisdom and power He possesses, is far better and far superior than we can ever imagine. Our benevolent God, who wants the best for us, desires to guide our lives through His Word, which He has given that we might know His perfect will and purpose in all areas of life. What could be better than knowing God and the life He has for us to live? When we rely on our own strength and understanding, the way is foggy, full of obstacles and curves. When we entrust our way to God for His direction and leading, the way forward becomes clear and straight. 

-- Source Unknown, submitted by a SOUND BITES subscriber in Wisconsin


Tuesday, February 19, 2019


“They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life.”  (1 Timothy 6:18-19 NRSV)

God cares about whether the transforming truth of Jesus Christ changes people -- and changes the world through them… In the lessons Jesus taught, the people He touched, the suffering He relieved, the forgiveness He offered, the justice He proclaimed, the life He lived, the sacrifice He made, the death He died, and the new life He revealed is "the life that really is life." …The Holy Spirit knits people into communities that continue the life and witness of Christ. 

-- Robert Schnase in “The Future of The United Methodist Church: 7 Vision Pathways”  


Monday, February 18, 2019


“With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of His calling, and that by His power He may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. We pray this so that the name of our LORD Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the LORD Jesus Christ.”  (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 NIV)

What is the calling of God? In every life, calling may manifest itself in a different way, but the result will be the same. God's calling does not allow us to separate the sacred from the secular. We have one life to live for Him in every aspect of existence. The calling of God challenges us to bring Him into our most mundane activities, breathing life into our smallest tasks, and giving power to our greatest challenges.

-- Stephen Arterburn in “The Power Book”


Friday, February 15, 2019


“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip His people to do every good work.”  (2 Corinthians 3:16-17 NLT)

If we are to have real faith, we must study the Word of God and discover what is promised. Then, we must simply believe the promises of God. Trying to believe something that you want to believe is not faith. Believing what God says in His Word is faith. 

-- R. A. Torrey


Thursday, February 14, 2019


“Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”  (Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV)

God invites us to wake up to the reality of His presence in our lives each and every day. He may get our attentions through all kinds of unexpected ways. He may speak through a passage of the Bible you’re reading. He may answer a prayer you’ve been waiting on for weeks, months, or years. He may share a much-needed word of encouragement with you through a friend. God is incredibly creative when it comes to awakening our hearts to His love. 

-- Margaret Feinberg in “A Grand New Day”


Tuesday, February 12, 2019


“God's majestic voice thunders His commands, creating miracles too marvelous for us to understand. Snow and heavy rainstorms make us stop and think about God's power, and they force animals to seek shelter. The windstorms of winter strike, and the breath of God freezes streams and rivers.” (Job 37:4-10 CEV)

Individual Christians are like snowflakes -- beautiful but frail. However, when they stick together they can make a powerful difference; they can stop traffic. 

-- Adapted from Vance Havner


Monday, February 11, 2019


“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”   (Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV)

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” Grab some paper and write down a couple of things you have been reluctant to get started on. Your hesitance may be due to a lack of faith in your ability to complete the entire staircase, or to even be able to see all of it. Think about all the different roles and aspects of your life, including work, relationships, family, health, spiritual life, etc.

Next to each item on your list, write down what the first step is. How difficult was that? As long as you know where the staircase will take you, and where the first step is, it shouldn’t be too difficult, if you have faith and persevere. 

-- Author unknown, adapted from


Friday, February 8, 2019


It’s what a bride and groom are really saying to each other when the exchange their vows. It’s what a parent means when he says to his child, “If you ever need to talk, I’ll be here.” It’s what a young baby-toting wife means when she says to her departing GI husband, “I’ll think of you every day.” It’s what a doctor means when he stares into the jaundiced eyes of a dying patient and says, “We’ll do everything we can.”

All great promises say “You matter to me.”

That’s what makes a broken promise so painful. Nothing hurts quite as badly as the realization that someone you trusted doesn’t care after all.

If your faith needs refilling, I would recommend that you thumb through the Bible with a highlight marker in your hand and look for the promises Jesus made to you. Here are a few to start: Matthew 11:28, Luke 18:29-30, John 8:12, Revelation 3:5.

Woven into the fabric of these and many other promises is the simple message that our Lord cares about us. In spite of our failures, we matter to Him. If we didn’t, there would be no logical reason for Him to make such commitments. 

-- Mark Atteberry in “Free Refill: Coming Back for More of Jesus”


Thursday, February 7, 2019


“Those who are spiritual discern all things, and they are themselves subject to no one else’s scrutiny. ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct Him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.”  (1 Corinthians 2:15-16 NRSV)

God is at work around us, and to accomplish this work God personally communicates His will to His people, inviting each church to join in His activity in specific ways. It is not for us to dream our own dreams of what we want to do for God. This is never the pattern in the Scriptures. God already knows what He is purposing to do through those He calls to Himself. And God is waiting for us to adjust our lives to His purposes so He can work powerfully through us to redeem our lost world.

When we hear God’s call and respond appropriately, there will be no limit to what God can and will do through His people. But if we do not even recognize when God is speaking, we are in trouble at the very heart of our relationship with Him.

This is true in all levels of our walk with God and with each other. If we in our churches cannot sense what God is telling us, then in moments of crucial decisions we’ll continue to have only opinions of people, not the mind of Christ, to direct us. Our entire mission will be in peril. 

-- Henry Blackaby in “What the Spirit Is Saying to the Churches”


Wednesday, February 6, 2019


“We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”  (Romans 5:3-4 NIV)

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.

-- Helen Keller's Journal 


Tuesday, February 5, 2019


“We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags.”  (Isaiah 64:6a NLT)

It’s true. God told the prophet Hosea to marry a prostitute. If you don’t believe me, read it for yourself in Hosea 1:2. The question is, why? Why would God want one of His right-hand men to marry one of the filthiest women in town? Simple. So Hosea could understand in some small way what it was like for God to be in a relationship with the people of Israel.

Can you imagine yourself marrying a prostitute? Or if you’re a woman, can you imagine yourself marrying a pimp with a dozen girls under his control? Or a drug pusher? Or a rapist?

Of course you can’t. The idea disgusts you. But you’d have to do such a thing if you ever wanted to fully appreciate what God has done. Through His Son, He has reached out His hand to every filthy, wretched sinner in this world and said, “I love you, and I want to have a relationship with you.” He wouldn’t do that if He couldn’t stomach our filth. 

-- Mark Atteberry in “Free Refill: Coming Back for More of Jesus"


Monday, February 4, 2019


“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you.”  (James 4:7-8a NIV)

When the devil sees a man or woman who really believes in prayer, who knows how to pray, and who really does pray, and, above all, when he sees a whole church on its face before God in prayer, he trembles as much as he ever did, for he knows that his day in that church or community is at an end. 

-- R. A. Torrey


Friday, February 1, 2019


 “Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions.”  (Proverbs 18:2 NLT)

In the movie Michael, John Travolta plays a wayward angel traveling across the country from the Midwest to New York. While this movie couldn’t be endorsed as presenting a godly representation of angels, it does provide an interesting illustration: While standing in the middle of a group of people, Michael predicts what one young woman will do next.

Another woman standing by him asks how he knew that. Expecting him to profess something about his spiritual powers, the audience is surprised to hear him say, “I pay attention.”

What a great line! I pay attention.

Often we don’t pay attention. But the more we do, the more likely we will touch others in significant ways. We need to pay attention. If we don’t, we’re apt to make assumptions that simply aren’t’ true. 

-- Lois Mowday Rabey in “Women of a Generous Spirit: Touching Others with Life-Giving Love”